Delegate More Effectively

By Marshall Goldsmith –  Leading Executive Educator and Coach

When C-level executives are asked what change they could make to become a more effective leader, one of the most common answers is, “I need to delegate more!”

My caution to these executives is always the same: Don’t delegate more. Delegate more effectively.

Delegation is not a quality like “demonstrating integrity” or “complying with the law.” Honest, ethical and legal behavior is always appropriate — delegation isn’t. Inappropriate delegation can do more harm than good.

I saw an extreme example of the “empowerment is good” flaw in one of America’s largest companies. The CEO naively believed that his employees would always rise to the occasion and see the value of their learning through mistakes they made. He eventually promoted people to levels that were far beyond their capabilities. These people were not ready for the challenge. Perhaps they could learn from their mistakes when the mistakes cost thousands of dollars, but the company went bankrupt when the mistakes cost billions.

When feedback from direct reports indicates that a manager needs to delegate more effectively, the dissatisfaction could come from one of two causes: The direct reports may feel that their leader is micro-managing or getting overly involved with subordinates, or the direct reports may not feel micro-managed at all, but see their leader engaged in tasks that could be done effectively by someone at a lower level in the company.

To help leaders ensure effective delegation, my advice is simple:

Have each direct report list her or his key areas of responsibility. Schedule one-on-one sessions with each person. Review each area of responsibility and ask, “Are there cases where you believe that I get too involved and can let go more? Are there cases when I need to get more involved and give you some more help?” When leaders go through this exercise, they almost always find that in some cases, more delegation is wanted, and in others it is not. In fact, more help is needed.

Ask each direct report, “Do you ever see me working on tasks that someone at my level doesn’t need to do? Are there areas where I can help other people grow and develop, and give myself more time to focus on strategy and long-term planning?” Almost invariably, direct reports will come up with great suggestions. For example, for several of my C-level clients, team management has emerged as an area where letting go can both free up executive time and help develop direct reports. Too many top executives feel a need to schedule team meetings and then act as traffic cop during the meeting to ensure that the time schedules are met and that agendas are completed. This meeting management task can usually be delegated on a rotating basis to direct reports. This helps direct reports understand the agendas of the peer team members and allows them to develop their skills in building collaboration and reaching consensus.

In one example, a CEO was frequently traveling. He would not schedule any team meeting when he was on the road and was falling behind on some important projects. A team member suggested that he did not have to be present at every meeting and that the team could still get a lot done without him in the room. He was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. Decisions that involved cross-divisional cooperation were made effectively without involving him. Another advantage was that his direct reports were getting on-the-job training that could help them take on larger responsibilities in the future.

On the other side of the coin, a division president learned that his employees consistently wanted more direction on one key topic. The company was operating in a rapidly changing environment. His direct reports didn’t need to be told what to do or how to do it in terms of technical details. They needed to know how their work was fitting into the larger strategy of the corporation and how their efforts were aligned with their peers both in the division and across the company. By establishing regular bi-monthly check-in meetings with each person, the president was able to increase the effectiveness of the team and help them build better relationships across the company.

What are your next steps? When are you getting too involved? When do you need to get more involved?

Ask yourself these tough questions. Then ask the people who are working with you. The answers may save your time and increase your team’s effectiveness.

Originally published in The Huffington Post.
Dr. Marshall Goldsmith has authored over 30 books including eWhat Got You Here Won’t Get You There – a New York Times best-seller, Wall Street Journal #1 business book and Harold Longman Award winner for Business Book of the Year. Succession: Are You Ready? is the newest edition to the Harvard Business ‘Memo to the CEO’ series. Marshall’s latest book is Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, and How to Get It Back When You Lose It.

Join Marshall at

Printed With Permission.

You’re A Mentor… Now What?

This guest post is by Dr. Patricia Wheeler of Leading News.

One of the top targets on my client Reynaldo’s development plan read: Provide effective feedback that helps others improve their performance. Reynaldo, a key global supply chain executive based in Latin America, was in the process of making performance management more robust and accountability-driven. Yet along with many of his peers, he was perceived as giving messages that were too soft and lacking any real-time follow-up.

My job was to help Reynaldo raise the bar on performance management. That meant helping him develop the discipline of giving messages in a clear and timely manner, articulating what his team (and their teams) were doing well, what had to change, and how to ensure that these important changes were, in fact, made. I’m happy to report that Reynaldo did a great job on this. In fact, he was so successful that a high potential leader asked him to be her mentor. He was thrilled, and accepted immediately. Then he called me and asked how he could do this well.

I’ve seen a lot of mentoring programs and relationships. Some are successful, others not so much. What makes the difference? I’ve come to believe that it’s not about whether mentoring takes place within a formal program or happens within an informal arrangement. I’ve seen both succeed and both fail. In my experience, the key criterion is making sure that you negotiate the relationship in a way that both parties benefit.

When Reynaldo asked me how he could be a successful mentor, I gave him the following checklist:

1. Agree on the process: It’s important to define the basic “ground rules” of the mentoring relationship. This is where so much of mentoring fails: we think we should know the rules already, but we don’t. Questions include the following.
– What does the mentee want from the experience?
– How did the mentee choose you specifically?
– How often will you meet?
– Who will initiate the meetings?
– How long will your mentoring agreement last (at least initially….you can always “re-up”)
– How will you create a “safe space” for candid dialogue?

2. Define the Direction: What is the end result you will aim toward? The process of self-reflection and identifying goals (which may change over time) is crucial. Questions and issues include the following.
– What are the mentee’s career goals?
– How do you help him/her identify opportunities and obstacles?
– What are the mentee’s strengths and gaps?
– Help them create a strategic career focus
– Remember: building trust takes time
– How will each of you measure success of this initiative?

3. Facilitate Exposure: One primary “deliverable” is the mentor’s connecting the mentee to others across the enterprise who are sources of influence and knowledge. Ask yourself:
– What connections does the mentee need to make in order to advance his/her goals?
– How could you facilitate these meetings?
– Will you participate in the conversation or only give the referral?
– What resources (books/articles) were helpful to you that may also add value to them?

4. Serve as a Champion: spread around your mentee’s good ideas and, when appropriate, become an active sponsor. Consider the following.
– How could the mentee contribute even more broadly and deeply to the organization?
– How/when might your mentee need your support and sponsorship?

5. Make it Mutual: many relationships fail because mentees worry about taking up too much of their mentor’s valuable time. So they are reluctant to engage fully in a relationship they perceive as one-way. Think about the following.
– What can you learn from your mentee?
– How will you consistently ask them for FeedForward about views from their level….and their generation?

The results are in: effective mentoring works, particularly as an assist to people moving into bigger and broader roles. And it works for mentors as well. For Reynaldo, mentoring sessions help him keep a pulse check on generational changes and perspectives. In this way, mentoring may be one of the best ways for executives to stay relevant as they move up the leadership pipeline.

Copyright 2011, Leading News


Dr. Patricia Wheeler is an executive and team coach who helps smart people become more effective leaders. As Managing Partner in The Levin Group LLC, she has spent 15 years consulting to organizations and coaching senior leaders and their teams. Her work helping executives succeed in new roles is featured in The AMA Handbook of Leadership. Join Patricia at

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Robin Sharma’s Leadership Lessons

Word-renowned self improvement guru Robin Sharma has made it his mission to teach others how to become great leaders. Having quit his job as a lawyer, Robin followed his heart and self-published his first two books. His second book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, was discovered by HarperCollins, going on to sell millions of copies and hit number one on bestseller lists all over the world. Listen to this video to hear what Robin has to say regarding reaching your own potential and becoming a successful and inspiring leader. After watching the video be sure to share your comments below.

Five Capabilities of Future Leaders

By Dr. Marshall Goldsmith – World’s No.1 Leadership Thinker 2012 (HBR)

Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching approach has proven to help highly successful people make positive long-term change in leadership behavior through using a methodology that is highly effective and time efficient.

The Stakeholder Centered Coaching process guarantees measurable leadership change

The Emotional Leader Program

The Emotional Leader Program (ELPro) is a simple doctrine or system of learning to develop emotional skills for positive, measurable, long-term behavioral change, applying your emotional intelligence.

The Emotional Leader Program specifically covers: understanding emotional style, increasing emotional knowledge for use in problem solving and decision-making, improving mood and job performance, developing self-management, and communicating effectively for increased relationship satisfaction, productivity and financial success.

In The Emotional Leader Program I coach you using stakeholder centered coaching practices learned from my mentor, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, perhaps the most well respected leading behavioral coach in the world. And that always guarantees increased success and financial wealth!

There is a Science of Emotional Leadership – Emotional laws of personal and professional success. The Emotional Leader Program is the essence of this teaching.

The inspiration for The Emotional Leader Program  is drawn from principles encapsulated in the EASEQuadrant Model, an evidenced-based best practices model of emotional leadership developed by Dr. Gosling, drawn from scientifically researched emotional intelligence (EI) constructs and cognitive-behavioral insights.

Leadership is about building a feeling of long-term trust in relationships enabling the leader to influence others. Emotional leadership is choosing to behave with emotional intelligence; learning and applying emotionally intelligent behavior to build long-term trust in your business, professional and social relationships. As you exercise emotional leadership in your dealings with others, they will be drawn to you and follow your aspirations; your vision for a better life for you and for them. You will improve your level of self-understanding and greater effectiveness in your personal and professional life.

The Emotional Leader Program Coaching specifically targets behavioral change by:

  • understanding your emotional style
  • massively increasing emotional knowledge for use in problem solving and decision-making
  • using emotion to influence and improve thinking
  • improving job performance by being able to generate helpful moods
  • developing self-management and managing the emotions of others
  • communicating effectively for increased relationship satisfaction.

The purpose of my coaching is to guide you, the leader, to increase your emotional skills so that you choose the right goal —the right behavior to change. Your goal could be an increase in personal financial wealth or an increase in your contribution to an organization, or both. It could be a personal desire to head up a charitable initiative or to be a better partner, husband or wife. The benefits from carefully following the emotional leadership development process in ELPro Coaching are immediate, observable, measurable and enduring.

When you incorporate this knowledge in your emotional leadership habits it will give you the ability to be extraordinary and find clarity, purpose, happiness and abundance in your life. Emotional leadership habits will empower you change annoying behavior and create vastly improved relationships and unlimited wealth with EASE!

Leaders who understand how to influence and persuade masses of people are orchestrating themselves to develop their emotional leadership habits. And these habits will help position themselves at the head of a growing clan or tribe passionate about being completely aware of how they function emotionally.

Individuals and business owners that get this are making more money. They’re making their life easier for themselves and their teams. But most of all — they’re increasing their financial wealth by choosing emotionally intelligent behavior over controlling behavior.


The Emotional Leader Program gives you the most subtle form of inner power. But it is not just for your emotional management. ELPro empowers you to manage the emotions of others to attain influence and real-world results in every area of your life. Everything in life is about how you feel. If you feel mostly positive emotions, that’s a non-problem status. Get on and enjoy your life and the fruits of your lifetime achievements. But if you feel mostly negative emotions, and many people do, then these feelings will directly impact on your daily ability to function – be it in the home, community or workplace. That’s when ELPro can be your preferred system to strengthen emotional leader habits!


For many people their one goal is a to have happy, harmonious family life where parents, children and extended family are engaged with each other. When you are happy in your home life you will not be bringing stress to work!

For other people, their primary goal is to get money. Lots of money! Everyone wants to be wealthy. Without money you can’t move! If you have money you can have whatever you want, do whatever you want, go whereever you want. Maybe you want a happy and secure family and the best education for your children, or you want a cruising holiday, or be secure knowing your living expenses and insurance policies are taken care of? But if you have lots of money – that is, you are financially wealthy – you can give away your money to others and help them to be financially wealthy.

So there’s nothing wrong with being financially wealthy is there? It means that once your family is secure, you can give away generous amounts of money to a noble cause and help empower others. My wife and I are doing this through our charitable initiative – The Bula

Emotional wealth can bring you financial wealth. With sound emotional leadership you are sowing positive, long-term, trusting relationships – Just what you need for building effective relationships in your family, regular employment, professional careers and business organizations to make money to become financially wealthy. You are following me here?

So you can see that emotional leadership leads to emotional wealth and is intrinsically tied to financial wealth, causing people to be successful in their careers and their business profits to flourish. And emotional wealth belongs to financial wealth by its very nature. YOU ARE FREE TO ENJOY BOTH! ELPro is a system of learning lasting behavioral change to increase your emotional and financial wealth!

Get started with your Emotional Intelligence Assessment today  >>